A few hours before The Doppelgangaz tear the roof up at Gibus Café in Paris, we met Matter Ov Fact and E.P, the two members of the Ghastly Duo. Among other things, the eccentric rappers/producers told us about life in their hometown, people going crazy at their shows, their creative process and singular style, their relationship with fans and other artists, and the meaning behind their cloaks. The chance for us to have a good laugh and enjoy a laid-back talk with some of the funniest and most hard-working figures of the new Hip-Hop generation.
The BackPackerz: You are now touring for your Ghastly European Tour. Last night you had a gig in Sofia, tonight you are playing in Paris, and tomorrow you are off to Berlin. Do you notice any difference between your shows in Europe and in the United States?
Matter Ov Fact: Everybody who shows up to our shows is always hyped, always jumping around. There’s no night and day difference between the scenes, but every city has its own way. In New York, people are a little cool. In other places, they are more hyped up. But as a whole, when our people show up, they are tying to get it popping. Everywhere, everybody is always sweating under arms, just having a good time.
TBPZ: You come from Orange County, a town about 70 miles away from New York City. Do you feel that being at the same time close and remote from the city had an influence on your music and helped you create your own style?
Matter Ov Fact: Definitely ! Around that way, you have to make your own fun. There’s not as much stuff to do, not as much action. We would sit around, crack jokes, create our way of thinking. If we lived in a different area, we wouldn’t sound the same.
TBPZ: Your productions sound very dark and gloomy, but are also very soulful, with lots of groove. In the same way, your lyrics are both creepy and funny, with a lot of self-mockery. How do you balance light and darkness in your daily lives?
E.P: It represents us. Nobody is one way all the time. We have our dark moments, our humorous moments, that’s just who we are. That description that you gave is pretty tight, that is us man! It’s nothing that we strive to do. It just happens.
Matter Ov Fact: One day I call him crying like "No way, no way, man" and the next day I’m happy like "Yo, yo what’s up baby, I feel good today, let’s make the album". I’m on a different moment.
TBPZ: Your albums feature very few guests. Outside your own projects, you only worked with Apathy, Marco Polo and Lil B. Why is that?
Matter Ov Fact: Nobody likes us, we think we’re ugly! (Laughs). We just do our own thing, we didn’t happen to cross paths with someone. We’re not opposed to features and collaborations. Since things were done naturally, it has just been us two making music. We don’t have many rapper friends. (Pointing E.P) He’s my only friend, I don’t know anybody else. (Pointing their partner in crime Big Josh) This guy right here, I don’t know him. We met him at the airport! (Laughs)
TBPZ: Hope you’ll get on well.
Matter Ov Fact: Oh, he seems nice!
TBPZ: You belong to a new generation of all-around artists who can do everything, from the production to the raps. You make your own videos and sell your own merch. How do you manage to do it all? Who does what? How did you learn those skills?
Matter Ov Fact: We do it as one ! It started just me and him. In our area, we don’t have any music team at all. We just worked in the basement, doing anything and it turned out we like being hands on. Other artists prefer to work with other people, we like being hands on. Anyway, we don’t even have that luxury.
E.P (Pointing Matter Ov Fact): He has a degree in graphic design, we know how to use things. I have taken little courses, like video editing. But we didn’t know engineering, we had to learn that. You have to get books, read, study other people, watch interviews on YouTube...
TBPZ: You also managed to build a strong fan base, especially through social media. Did you come up with a real social media strategy, or is it just the natural way you communicate with your fans?
Matter Ov Fact: We don’t really think of how to do it. Some people focus on how you should do it, I think it’s about how you talk to people. If you have a template, it’s kind of robotic, there’s nothing personal.
E.P (Taking a robotic voice): « Let’s make a post about the new product today! » It’s more about talking to people and having fun. All people are making faces, showing us their birthmarks, tattoos, it gets real creepy! (Laughs)
Matter Ov Fact: In fact, we are paying for all the followings, all the likes, all the views. (Laughs)
TBPZ: Why the cloaks, except for blowing your nose in the video for KnowntchooTahLie?
Matter Ov Fact: This is the main reason! (Laughs) We are wearing some bum-ass clothes, so we just put the cloaks on, and we feel fresh. In a lot of these videos, I was in my underwear! (Laughs) I don’t feel like dressing up so I always keep the cloak on and let’s go!
TBPZ: So we might see you naked on stage tonight?
Matter Ov Fact: Yeah, probably! (Laughs) If I go naked on stage today, I think the Guiness Book might come through. I’ve got a micro-penis, and it’s cold outside too. Everybody else is going to feel very masculine. (Laughs)
TBPZ: It’s good to see you have the same kind of humor in real life. You are putting out a lot of new projects at an amazing pace. What are the next projects, can you tease up a little?
E.P: We are working on our new album right now. We have a lot of songs, almost a whole album. A lot of things are coming, both instrumentals and songs. I think it’s going to be a busy year.
TBPZ: I wish you so! If you had to produce a full LP for some other rapper, who would it be?
Matter Ov Fact: The biggest rappers, because they have the biggest budgets! I don’t have to hear one song. (Laughs) I don’t have anybody in mind, but it’s about connecting. You can like an artist and not be able to work with him. It has to do with a bunch of factors. Hopefully, we are going to make it happen. You have to talk positive!